Monday, September 9, 2013

My 2nd Century Bike Ride...

Seek the friend who's hand helped you and tell them what they mean to you.-- Source Unknown 

This past weekend I did my second century bike ride. For those of you who are new to biking, a century ride is 100 miles on the bike. We signed up for this weekend, two-fold: 1. I am in the middle of training and thought it might be a good alternative to a long run and 2. It is my husbands first time doing it.

My intention for the day ride was to enjoy it, take in the scenery and enjoy riding along with my husband as the radio on his bike bars played.  Well, this was not the case at all.  When we arrived at the fairgrounds at 6 a.m. the lot was already half full of cars and everyone was solomnly getting ready for their days adventure.  I noticed each person had head-to-toe race attire that put my colorful shorts and tennis shoes to shame.  I realized right then, that this was not a crew of bike riders in it for a leisurely bike ride.  Instead, many were doing this as an alternative training ride.  There were teams of people from Indiana, Colorado, and Minnesota, just to name few.

We picked up our registration bracelets and got our bikes ready for the long ride.  And off we went.
I'm riding along on my new bike, given to me as a birthday present, proud to be able to sit up straight as my handle bars allowed me, and the suspension from sprocket to help ease the bumpy roads.

As I road, and the crowd of bikers around me dissipated, I noticed that every time a biker would pass me they would say, "On your left."  There is a bike-speak that goes on in a long distant bike ride, and this is one of those that allows the rider on the right to know that someone is passing them on the left as to not swerve out in front of them.  There are other forms of bike-speak as well, like when a car is coming, people will say, "Car back!"  or when there is an intersection, they will check and say, "Clear!" when there is no car.  There are all sorts of things, but you catch on quickly.

This is my second century bike ride.  My first was a race, called Race the Lake the ride is routed around
Lake Winnebago and it was a beautiful route.  In this race, I knew it was a race, so I planned for it.  My time reflects it too.  So, I know that I can ride a century in a proper time and 'could make it' in an ironman distance and make the cut-off.  (I am considering doing an ironman someday, and it's been on my docket list for a couple years.  Because my goal is to do one before I'm 50, we'll see on that...)

Anyway...
During the bike ride, there were many times I said to myself, "Now, why am I doing this?" and "I wonder if I should do the 50 miler instead." But, kept forging forward, enjoying the scenery.

I I told myself, I'll probably never do this again. But, if I have a goal to do an ironman before I'm 50, it's a probability. Now that I see the times coming in from the Wisconsin Ironman, I have a lot of work to do to get my time down.

There were several rest stops along the way, approximately every 15 miles.  That worked out well for me because I could chip away at the mileage, so that I wouldn't be looking at the bigger scheme of things, which kept me going.  I stopped at the first stop and ran into my husband.  Yes, he ended up riding a head.  We caught up and replenished, then on our way.

The same people who passed me before, were passing again, saying, "On your left!"

After a while that got a little irritating.  One person saying it was fine, but one after the other, got to be too much.  I knew that if one said it there was typically a group of riders alongside them.  There were groups called the "Cheese Curds" or the "Beer Steins."  They had very catchy names.

The route was very pretty, hearing the Lake Michigan waves hitting the shore was nice.  The cool breeze was good; although, it was cold in the early morning and it made me shiver until I warmed up, which took a good 10 miles.

My second stop, I thought, "Maybe I should take the 50 mile route."  After I replenished, I headed off, only to see the markings on the ground say '100 mile century' the 50 mile markers were gone.

I must have missed the turn. Out of luck.  I said, "Well, I'm in it for the long haul."  This was around mile 30.

As I rode, I enjoyed the scents and sounds of Door County.  When reaching the mile 50 rest stop, I was treated with a strawberry sundae.  I took it!  Rested a bit, enjoyed the view of Lake Michigan, then off I went.

At mile 60, a rider, once again passed me saying, "To your left!"  Then added, "You're almost there."  I thought to myself, 'with 40 miles to go?'  This happened several times.  I'm not sure if it was because of the bike I was riding wasn't a race bike or if they wanted to make me feel good because they felt bad they were passing me.  Who knows.  I thought those comments were strange.  I knew I was doing fine and enjoying the ride.

Around mile 80, my thighs were burning.  At this time my husband caught up to me, or I caught up to
him at a rest stop, I think it was around mile 70.  And we rode the rest of the ride together.  We saw this beautiful home with all sorts of art constructions.  I had to stop and take a picture. The artist had very unique ideas and it integrated into the landscape quite well.    We had two more rest stops before we were home free.  As we rode together, listening to his radio, people were more apt to ride a long for a bit and enjoy the music with us or talk with us about the radio, saying, "Now that's the way to do it."

At the last stop, we only had 6 more miles to go.  My husband kept saying, "I haven't done the 100 miles yet, who knows..."  Well, suffice it to say, we made it.

After everything was said and done, I can happily say, "I did it."  No, I wasn't the first, second or third athlete to cross the finish line.  And no, there were no more crowds to cheer me in.  Just my husband, and I crossing the finish line together.  Happy we made this accomplishment together.  Enjoying the full day of scenery, camaraderie and exercise.

Congrats to my husband for completing his first 100, woot!

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